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The Final Reflection (Star Trek: The Original Series #16)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,241 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Krenn, a Klingon captain, is changed by contact with human civilization, and faces a test of conscience, when he learns of a Klingon plan to destroy the Federation.
Paperback, 253 pages
Published August 28th 1999 by Pocket Books (first published May 1984)
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Katharina Yes. It's one of the best star trek novels ever written.

Community Reviews

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May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any casual Trek fan
Recommended to Kerry by: Mordicai Knode
Shelves: iownthis, star-trek, scifi
Man, I am a jerk for not listening to Mordicai earlier (he told me to read this, like, five years ago or something) because this was pretty damn good!

I think that it helped that the crew from the Enterprise wasn't in it (save a young Spock who makes a cameo appearance), which can sometimes take one out of the story. It was just a story about Klingons, well told. Also it's neat to note all the things that had changed in the Star Trek canon since the book was written (Q'onoS had yet to be establis
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Star Trek's major running theme was probably anti-racism and anti-oppression of all kinds. At times, its exploration of this theme seems naive and clumsy by our standards today, but at other times, it was masterful enough to stand up to today's viewers. This book is that kind of masterful.

At first, I was worried reading the review of it on Goodreads. It was mostly gamers who liked it citing the descriptions of the games played by the characters and their relationship to war and battle. But, what
Jul 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Likely the ONLY franchised novelization you'll ever see me review here, this one has always struck me as memorable (in a sea of mediocrity) due to its sympathetic potrayal of the early show era's Klingons from their point of view. Written by THE DRAGON WAITING's John Ford. Quite good!
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: star-trek, tos, e-books
If you have not read The Final Reflection, do so! I have long been told that it is nearly the finest example of Trek literature, and having now read it, I can't disagree. Since it was published nearly thirty years ago now, much of "canon" Star Trek contradicts the events and ideas presented in The Final Reflection, but I think that it is completely worth reading on its own merits, even merely as a "road not taken" sort of story.

Full review:
May 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, star-trek
Hands down, the best Star Trek novel written so far. Now, granted, this is not a terribly high bar to vault but Ford is a genuinely good writer who loves his subject.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
"I do not acknowledge the existence of the Perpetual Game," Margon said without turning. "Society is Society, war war. If they are games at all, surely they are not all the same game. I deny it."

"That is a favored tactic," Akten said.

The Final Reflection is a strange animal for a book: a TV series tie-in novel that enjoys an excellent reputation, thanks partially to the fact that it's the book John M. Ford wrote immediately after The Dragon Waiting which won the World Fantasy Award, and that For
You should read this book even if you don't read Star Trek books. You should just read this book. Right away.

Since saying "it's a John M. Ford book" is probably not enough to entice you, let me just say that it's brilliant. He was always a very intelligent writer, and this book is no exception. It's clever, and full of layers and more layers and hidden references -- a lot like the games and diplomacy that the characters engage in, actually. I always feel like there's so much of his work I'm not
Dec 14, 2013 added it
Shelves: fiction, sff, 2013, kobo, ebook
I loved Ford's delicious farce, How Much for Just the Planet?. This is completely different, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, too. I rode the bus 30 blocks past my stop because I was so engrossed. The protagonist is from an entirely alien culture, and you're caught up in his world view. Jo Walton writes a much better review of it than I can* (note that she's in no way a Star Trek fan):
"For me, The Final Reflection would be a better book if it were set in an original universe. But it’s still an excel
Dec 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Remember the old Klingons, who didn't have ridged foreheads, wore gold satin vests, and were devious rather than honorable? Ford takes two-dimensional villains and creates a culture and society that's rich and complex, which makes you understand why they hate the Federation so much. One of the few Star Trek novels to transcend Trek and stand as a true sci-fi classic of its own accord.

Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: st-tos
Just completed this book, and safe to say I was blown away. Well written, and very different from other Star Trek books I've read before. Excellent read - 5 stars.
David King
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“The Final Reflection” by John M. Ford is a Star Trek novel that I believe is rather unique for the genre. The reason for this is that the core story is quite simply one that could be enjoyed by any fan of Science Fiction, not just those who appreciate Star Trek.

Part of this is due to the fact that the only section of the novel which involves the regular Star Trek characters is a very minor framing story. This framing element basically details Kirk deciding to read a novel entitled “The Final R
Oct 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
WHAT??? I haven't reviewed this book yet?

That's crazy.

This is one of my absolute favorite books. I don't know how many times I have read it since it was printed in 1984. Well I just finished it AGAIN for the umpteenth time and I enjoyed it maybe just a little bit more than I enjoyed it the last time I read it --- which I think was last year. (TFR was printed twenty-seven years ago. Does that mean I have read it twenty-seven times? Or more???)
Well. It is that good. It is one of the best books I h
Mike Crate
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek, scifi
The Final Reflection for the most part takes place before the original series at the time of the first diplomatic exchange with the Klingons and the first Federation Babel conference. It pretty much deals with events from the Klingon point of view and the main character we follow from a boy to a starship commander is Vreen aka Kreen. In the time of Kirk the final reflection refers to a book recently published which is reported by Starfleet and vested interests to be inaccurate and features infor ...more
Dan Choquette
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Star Trek/Klingon Fans, people who like world and culture building
Most of the time, I felt a little disappointed by Star Trek novels I've read in the past. But this is the exception. As I read and became more and more engrossed in the storyline, a part of me wondered why I'd never picked this book up before. Written long before Worf and the Next Gen. developed the Klingons from typical Black hat villains to full fledged characters, John M. Ford created a culture for these intriguing aliens. Following the "novel within a novel" approach, "the Final Reflection" ...more
Luke Sims-Jenkins
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: star-trek
What a book!

The Final Reflection is an interesting piece of fiction and whilst well written and a great look inside of the Klingon culture I think that modern readers need to come to this prepared. The novel was written before the Klingons were properly fleshed out on screen and Ford's depiction of them are very different.

For me this book didn't hit that Star Trek itch and it's not fault of the material, but I have to think, had I read this before I'd seen the Trek that came later it would hav
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Easily the best of the 80+ Star Trek novels I read in my teens, and the only one I revisit on a regular basis. Told from the perspective of a Klingon, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are only minor characters in this tale. The story is set in the "past" of Star Trek's 23rd century, at a time when the Klingons and the Federation are trying to figure out how to occupy neighboring parts of space. The first part of the novel gives us insight into the Klingon homeworld and the fate of a common Klingon boy as ...more
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
In my experience, the best Star Trek book ever! Hard to believe it's by the same guy who wrote How Much for Just the Planet. Set around the time of the Enterprise series, but written before it aired, I believe, so happily unencumbered. A great look into the depths of the Klingon world and psyche.

It's been a couple years since I read it, but I will definitely read it again.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so, so much. Okay, so we have Shakespearian space vikings... who play games... and build up their culture around games...
There is so much to love here, from our glorious hero Krenn to his girlfriend. I'm not going to spoil this, but you have to read it. It's beautiful. Every single event genuinely means something. And there are genuinely funny moments, too, like at the transporter... but I'm not going to spoil it. Anyway, HIGHLY recommended to absolutely everyone.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I keep buying, then lending and having to re-buy this book. Unfortunately, I am currently without a copy. It is by far the best Star Trek book I've read. It was an excellent window into the Klingon culture and showed how the 'baddies' are just people with their own set of beliefs. Highly recommend, even if you don't generally read these kinds of series books.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Definitely not one of my favorites in the series.
Radu Stanculescu
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Radu by: rivka
An excellent book, and quite different from the previous one I read by Ford.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm rating it a 3 as it was okay, but not my favorite book. I read it after reading that the Klingon cast of Star Trek: Discovery were told to use it as reference material to prepare for their roles. It was an interesting (non-canon) view of the Klingons and their honor-based society. It was somewhat difficult to read due to Klingon words that are not explained. Would have liked a glossary in the book. I think the idea was to figure out the words based on the context, but some of them I just did ...more
Jennifer Linsky
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was recommended to me as being "the Klingon equivalent of The Romulan Way," which I don't think it exactly is. But it is an interesting look at an alternative path that Klingon lore could have gone down, had the show runners not decided to create something else.

And while it was an interesting and enjoyable read, if I were only going to recommend one John M. Ford book, it would be How Much for Just the Planet?
Sep 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, star-trek
Star Trek. Klingons. Board Games. You'd think I would like this book... I did not. Not only was it stupid to be reading a book that Kirk is reading I had a hard time following. Having the book from entirely the Klingon's perspective was tricky to follow and I was lost when they were describing the games he was playing. I kept getting lost in the story and not in a good way... I didn't know what was going on! I've never been so lost reading a book.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Klingons! Who knew.

I did not expect a novel about Klingons to feature this many descriptions of gaming - including an opening chapter that features some version of potentially fatal sportsball played on a 3D playing field. But it is a bona fide classic for a reason, including a surprisingly complex depiction of Klingon culture and an early and imperfect Starfleet + Federation. Also, [Spoiler]

Guest appearances by a young Spock and McCoy!
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, star-trek, sci-fi
Final Reflection is a very well-done story of a Klingon playing the game of diplomacy. One can definitely see hints of Undiscovered Country in its plot.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it

Really good in some parts, a little too boring/political in others.
Leila P
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Klingons and chess games. Neither are exactly my favourites, but in this book you'll meet also a young half-human, half-vulcan boy, who is my favourite.
Wetdryvac Wetdryvac
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite TOS books, with clear and intelligent cold war era presentation, excellent characterization, and solid plotting.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best Star Trek novels ever written, and an interesting view of a Klingon Empire that might-have-been.
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John Milo "Mike" Ford was a science fiction and fantasy writer, game designer and poet.

Ford was regarded (and obituaries, tributes and memories describe him) as an extraordinarily intelligent, erudite and witty man. He was a popular contributor to several online discussions. He composed poems, often improvised, in both complicated forms and blank verse, notably Shakespearean pastiche; he also wrot
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“There was not enough pain in Akhil’s body to pay for all of this.” 0 likes
“The Human stared, then laughed shortly. “I suppose I have gone on a bit. Tell your people that not all Humans want their territory, and endless rounds of gunboat diplomacy and saber-rattling.”
Krenn said, “If you wish, I will take that message. But there is something I ought to tell you. We have a word, komerex: your translator has probably told you it means ‘Empire,’ but what it means truly is ‘the structure that grows.’ It has an opposite, khesterex: ‘the structure that dies.’ We are taught—by those you wish to receive your story—that there are no other cultures than these. And in my years as a Captain, I have seen nothing to indicate that my teaching was wrong. There are only Empires…and kuve.” Krenn saw Grandisson’s long jaw go slack; he knew how the Human’s machine had translated the last word. “And this is the change you say you wish to make in yourselves….
“So, yes, Mr. Grandisson, if you wish I will take your message. But I tell you now: there are none Klingon who will believe it.”
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